European Jews for a Just Peace (EJJP) – an umbrella organization of Jewish groups from 10 European countries against the occupation of Palestine – aim to deliver humanitarian aid such as school books and medicines to the Gaza Strip, and to draw attention to the blockade which they call “immoral.”
“We want to show that not all Jews support Israel,” said Edith Lutz, a German member of the EJJP. “We are calling for a just solution and for an end to the blockade.”
On board the ships will be activists from across Europe including Germany and the UK, as well as an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor from Israel. The voyage was originally meant to carry only a small number of activists together with journalists from Europe and Israel, but organizers say that a huge response from the Jewish community has meant that a second boat has been arranged, and the possibility of a third is being discussed.
“In the beginning it was not meant to be an exclusively Jewish trip, we had a variety of people. But many more Jewish people came forward wanting to come on board, and we realized this was important politically,” said Lutz.
This sentiment was echoed by Glyn Secker, a member of the British based Jews for Justice for Palestinians who will captain the ship. “I think it will have particular significance because it is a group of Jewish people saying that as Jews, we are critical of Israeli policy. We believe that there should be a just peace for the Palestinians,” he said.
Organizers hope to draw attention to the injustice of the blockade whilst delivering much-needed supplies to the impoverished territory of 1.5 million people, 80 percent of whom rely on some sort of food aid according to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA.